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Momentum Solar Lawsuits: Latest Updates

You may have heard about a Momentum Solar lawsuit, but the company has actually been involved in several legal actions. We break them all down here.

evident Editorial Team
April 16, 2024
rooftop solar system

Momentum Solar, a New Jersey-based clean energy company, has grown substantially since it was founded in 2009. In under a decade, the company grew from two employees to over 1,200, becoming one of the leading independent solar companies in the country.

But the company has also drawn some scrutiny and faced a variety of lawsuits along the way. Potential solar customers may have heard of a Solar Momentum lawsuit, but there have been several lawsuits against Momentum Solar over the last few years, with one even making headlines in the New York Times.

So, what is the Momentum Solar lawsuit about? And what are the latest updates? We break down what to know in this article.

Key Takeaways

Momentum Solar: Company Overview

Pro Customer Solar, LLC, which does business as Momentum Solar, was founded in New Jersey in 2009. It has been described as one of the fastest-growing and most successful solar companies in the nation.

Indeed, the company was doing so well that New Jersey gave Momentum Solar $7.2 million in tax incentives in 2018 to help it keep adding jobs and installing solar panels. But Momentum Solar has also been sued several times for multiple reasons.

Most of the Momentum Solar lawsuits have to do with its telemarketing calls, though the lawsuits that have made the biggest headlines involve racial discrimination claims by the company's employees.

2019 Lawsuit: Murrell et al. v. Pro Custom Solar LLC

The first Momentum Solar lawsuit to make headlines was filed in 2019. Six black employees sued the company alleging systemic racial discrimination and retaliation, namely that the company fired employees who complained about the issue.

The 2019 Momentum Solar lawsuit also alleged that managers used racial slurs and paid black employees less than white employees. For example, one Momentum Solar employee alleged that they were called the "N-word" and "panel boy." Additionally, a black employee alleged that after six months of working at the company, he was paid less than a white employee who had just joined the company and had no prior solar installation experience.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Brooklyn, NY, and sought class action status to represent employees who worked in the company's Plainview, NY, warehouse. Later filings amended the complaint to add other plaintiffs and corresponding allegations to the lawsuit (e.g. violations of New Jersey law pertaining to New Jersey plaintiffs).

Labor Law Claims

The 2019 Momentum Solar lawsuit also involves allegations of wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to add a New Jersey-based plaintiff and corresponding allegations of New Jersey Wage and Hour Law violations.

Plaintiffs made various allegations, including that the company did not compensate employees for overtime work or travel time and that the company failed to reimburse employees for equipment purchases. For instance, plaintiffs alleged that Momentum had a travel policy requiring employees to report to warehouses before and after completing work at job sites but did not compensate its employees for the travel time that was required.

Momentum Solar Lawsuit: Latest Updates

gavel, wood, courtroom

The proposed class action lawsuit against Momentum Solar is still pending and continues to work its way through the litigation process. Each side has filed a variety of motions, and the judge has made a number of rulings, including denying (for now) the plaintiffs' motion to certify their proposed class.

The discovery process continues as the two sides seek to gather facts and information, and crucial legal battles are ahead, including as plaintiffs continue to seek certification of their proposed class action. And though a mandatory settlement conference was unsuccessful in 2022, the parties could yet agree to come to terms and resolve the lawsuit through a settlement rather than continued litigation.

2021 Lawsuit: Lafayette et al. v. Pro Custom Solar LLC

In 2021, Momentum Solar faced another lawsuit involving similar allegations from a new set of plaintiffs. Similar to the prior lawsuit, the 2021 case involved allegations of a racially hostile work environment and that the company dismissed anyone who complained about that environment.

In the new lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges the company violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

The 2021 Momentum Solar lawsuit again involved allegations that black employees were called the "N-word" and subjected to other conduct that created a racially discriminatory workplace. The complaint also included new allegations that work teams were divided by race, with white and Latino teams receiving better work assignments with higher pay than black workers.

Such allegations further cast doubt on the work environment fostered at Solar Momentum and the experience of black employees working for the company.

Momentum Solar Telemarketing Lawsuits

telephone, vintage, monochrome

Separate from the lawsuits brought by employees, Momentum Solar also faced lawsuits over their telemarketing practices.

Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action lawsuit in federal court in New Jersey in 2019. The plaintiffs alleged that the company had placed autodialed phone calls to advertise their services to potential customers in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that Momentum Solar placed en masse phone calls using pre-recorded messages and an automatic telephone dialing system without express written consent from the potential customers in violation of TCPA regulations.

The lawsuit, which sought to stop the company from making future improper phone calls and to pay monetary damages of $500 for every alleged violation of the TCPA, was resolved through a settlement between the parties in June 2021. That said, the company's Better Business Bureau profile reflects complaints about Momentum spam calls from as recently as March and April 2024.

Additionally, another lawsuit filed in federal court in Illinois made similar allegations regarding violations of TCPA regulations.